Review & Guest Post: Jenny Lyn, and her new book RIVER RECKONING

RiverR1mHaving found out that the most excellent Jenny Lyn has a new book out (River Reckoning: Trouble in Trespass), I was delighted to be able to read it, and write a review. Plus, Jenny was happy to come by and talk about the setting of the story, which I found rather interesting. Mind you, I have no experience of swamps or alligators!

I finished this book in an evening. It’s not short, but I couldn’t put it down. It didn’t take long for me to get into the book, the author had me from the moment Bond reveals that her name is because of a film (and no, not James Bond). Add in the swampy South, and I was set. (I’d read a couple of Intrigues by Jana de Leon set in the South as well, and this book reminded me a bit of them, though those were set in Louisiana, I think.) Mix this in with corruption, bribery, stalker-ex boyfriends, and a couple of delectable US Marshals, and it’s just about perfect.

It’s apparently first in a series, but for those of you worried about cliffhanger endings — don’t be. Unlike a lot of romance novels these days, this one has a good solid ending, satisfying my needs perfectly.

And here is Jenny:

Alyssa mentioned in her review of River Reckoning that she liked that the story wasn’t set in NYC or some other big city. I’ve always known a good portion of my books would be set in small southern towns. After all, it’s what I know. The town of Trespass is fictional, but it’s a mash-up of several places I’m very familiar with since I live in Florida. Plus, the Suwannee River is not far from my house, so I know how beautiful it is because I’ve experienced it firsthand. My dad and I used to fish on the Suwannee. I’ve spent what felt like entire summers water skiing and swimming in it. I’ve been to its headwaters in the Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia. I’ve also seen the alligators and the snakes Bond teases Nathan about. They really do grow to be monsters. Unfortunately, there are families like the Kyles, too, but that’s the case anywhere you go.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting a story in a big city, but small towns just hold more charm and appeal for me as a setting. There’s more to work with when everyone knows their neighbors, both good and bad. Being intimately familiar with the backdrop of my story helps me keep things authentic. Sure, I could bluff my way through a book set in Chicago or New York, but I can guarantee you I won’t get the tiny details right. It’s impossible if you haven’t spent a great deal of time there. I’d rather set it somewhere that I’m comfortable with, that I honestly love and know well, and maybe make you want to come for a visit. If you read the book (and I hope you will), let me know what you thought!

About RIVER RECKONING:

Bond Mason’s roots run deep in the backwoods hamlet of Trespass, Florida. Nestled against the banks of the Suwannee River, the only home she’s ever known holds bittersweet memories of a family long gone. Except one of her ghosts isn’t dead and possessive ex-lover James Kyle wants her back.

U.S. Deputy Marshal Nathan Gates sights are set on capturing fugitive Robert Kyle. Wanted for the cold-blooded murder of a DEA agent, Robert is suspected of being hidden away with his moonshine-brewing, marijuana-growing family of fellow lawbreakers, one of which is his brother, James.

Nathan expected high temperatures when he arrived in Trespass. What he hadn’t counted on is his searing attraction to southern beauty Bond Mason. She winds him around her finger like a tendril of Spanish moss, but his lawman’s intuition tells him she’s hiding secrets too. When he finally convinces her to talk, he’s not prepared for the dark truths she reveals about her hometown.

The Suwannee is deep, but Trespass’s sins run much deeper. For once, Nathan might be in over his head.

About Jenny Lyn:

I started reading when I was four, thanks to a babysitter who found out the only way to get me to sit still was to put a book in my hand. By the time I entered kindergarten, I’d blown through just about every Little Golden Book ever printed. Ten years later, much to my mother’s dismay, I found her stash of paperback romance novels. She tried to divert me back to something more chaste by buying me Harlequins, but I still snuck copies of her Kathleen Woodiwiss’s and Johanna Lindsey’s when she wasn’t looking. Shanna, The Flame and the Flower, and Fires of Winter will always hold special places in my heart because they introduced me to roguish heroes, headstrong heroines, and the trouble they could get into together.

I live in a swampy little corner of north-central Florida with my family, both the two-legged and four-legged variety. I love to read, run hot and cold in regards to cooking, and I never miss an episode of Justified, Longmire, or Dexter. I guess I like justice in all its various forms.

Buy the book!

 

Cover Reveal! THE CHRISTMAS GAME, coming December 3, 2013!

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Alone in London on business just before Christmas, Marc Perron meets an intriguing young woman working at a bookshop. A light flirtation seems to lead nowhere, but the night before he returns to Paris, she knocks on his hotel room door.

Madelaine’s taking a risk, but no one’s ever looked at her the way Marc does, and she’s not about to pass up a chance to get to know him better. When he suggests a game of wagers, she can’t resist challenging him. And herself.

Their matchup is a fiery one and each wager tops the last, the sexual heat between them crackling. Neither want to lose the game, but Madelaine fears she might be losing her heart as well.

This novella is a part of the Le Chat Rouge series, but can be read as a stand-alone story.

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Review: Blue is the Warmest Colour (La vie d’Adèle)

I have been lax in reviewing this film; I saw it in September, but only now have I had time to put my thoughts into a post. The nudge came from a spate of articles about how New York’s IFC centre said they would allow under-17’s in to see the film, even though (in the USA, at least) the film is rated NC-17 due to the ‘sapphic sex scenes’. The IFC issued a statement which said, in part, “This is not a movie for young children, but it is our judgment that it is appropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers, who are looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds…”

Naturally, there have been protests of that decision, but I’m glad that they have taken this position. Lesbian sex scenes (actually, sex scenes in general, whether GLBT or otherwise) should not be a reason for an NC-17 rating, in my opinion. Sex isn’t, in itself, offensive. And I would like to see more films rated higher, especially those with wanton violence. To me, Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ series ought to have been NC-17. However, for whatever Puritan reasoning lies behind the MPAA, nudity and sex sparks tittering and indignation. I applaud the IFC centre for their position.

Now, to my actual review. I’m not sure where to begin. I’d been looking forward to this film since before it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes (see article link here), and when I saw that the Calgary International Film Festival would be screening Blue is the Warmest Colour, I snapped up a ticket as soon as they went on sale, and eagerly (impatiently) awaited the day.

This film was worth it. And more.

C’est le mieux. C’est très belle, et triste aussi.

Stretching over three hours, though I wouldn’t have complained if it were longer still, the film follows student Adèle from secondary school through to her mid-twenties. It’s based on the graphic novel ‘Le bleu est une couleur chaude’ by Julie Maroh (a beautifully illustrated book; it’s in English translation now, so do pick it up.)

In the beginning of the film, Adèle is not sure of herself, of her wants and desires. She dates a young man at her school, but it fizzles and she feels little for him. Then, crossing the street near the main square in Lille, she passes a young woman and her girlfriend. The girl’s blue hair catches her eye, and their gazes meet, both turning back to catch a second glimpse before they’re lost in the crowd. This scene was beautifully shot and my own heart fluttered, feeling the tension and attraction between Adèle (played by Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux).

From there it progresses, and the pair meet again in a lesbian bar, and again when Emma seeks Adèle out after school. She’s several years older, in art school, and more experienced in the world than Adèle. It’s Adèle’s first real love, and the film is realistic in its portrayal of young love, passion, and eventual betrayal and falling out. Their relationship is sensual, and loving, and exactly the sort of thing for ‘mature, inquiring teenagers’ to see.

I hadn’t yet read ‘Le bleu est une couleur chaude’ when I saw the film, but I did pick it up afterwards. The film’s script veers from the graphic novel, but not so much so that readers of the novel would be so greatly displeased. Now, if you’re looking for a fast-paced film with intense drama in every minute, you should look beyond La vie d’Adèle and choose something else. It’s a slow-building film, more real-life than cinema. But it is genuine and passionate, and I was immersed. Walking home from the cinema afterwards, I felt in a daze, my imagination still there onscreen with Emma and Adèle, in Lille.

If Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle) comes to a cinema anywhere near you, you MUST GO.

Win a paperback of my gay romance MOONLIGHT & LOVE SONGS

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My book MOONLIGHT & LOVE SONGS is a featured giveaway this month over at France Book Tours. Enter to win on their site, and you could have a paperback copy winging its way to you!

Check it out here!